Scanners is a memorable and absorbing genre entertainment.
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What are critics saying?
One of the most technically proficient of David Cronenberg's early gnawing, Canadian-made horror movies, though it lacks both the logic and the queasy sexual subtext that made his still earlier work - "Rabid," "They Came From Within" - so memorably revolting.
The film is more interesting as a phenomenon than as a movie. [27 Feb 1981]
The larger budget has given Scanners a high-gloss Hollywood look, the editing is occasionally elegant and the special effects, which consist mostly of imaginative ways of turning actors into meat, provoke from the audience the desired response ("Oh, yuk]"), but he is careful to keep the violence within currently accepted boundaries. [19 Jan 1981]
Scanners is a new horror film made with enough craft and skill that it could have been very good, if it could find a way to make us care about it.
Unfortunately the plot thickens so rapidly and so lumpily that one very soon loses interest in spite of the quite stunning and gory special effects.